The annual exhibit, Celebrate the Constitution, sponsored by Historic Fort Steuben and the Fort Steuben Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, opened at the Fort Steuben Visitor Center on Saturday, September 9.
New this year is a special visit by Abraham Lincoln (aka Kevin Wood) who will offer insights into the life and thinking of our nation’s 16th president on Saturday, September 16 at 11am in the Visitor Center.
“As President, Mr. Lincoln ably led our nation through its darkest days, when brother fought against brother, and the fabric of our ‘more perfect Union’ was nearly torn asunder,” Wood noted. His presentation will cover the entire period from Independence through the Civil War, especially the 12 turbulent years from 1854-1865.
The exhibit highlights the signers, the details, and the history of America’s founding document, which is commemorated every year on September 17, Constitution Day. Included in the exhibit is The Bill of Rights & You, created by the National Archives Traveling Exhibits Service and the video A More Perfect Union depicting the often-raucous debates of the Constitutional Convention of 1787.
Director Judy Bratten explained, “Our Constitution is a unique document that set the standards for the new nation and still remains the framework for our government. The amendment process was created because the framers of the Constitution realized that as the country grew, the government would need to adapt to the changes. Their foresight prevented the violence that often occurred in other nations when changes were necessary. Proposing an amendment is easy, but two-thirds of both houses of Congress and three-fourths of the states must approve the change before it is added to the Constitution. That is why, out of more than 11,000 attempts to amend the Constitution, only 27 have been successful.”
The exhibit also offers visitors the opportunity to sign a replica of the Constitution and receive a free pocket Constitution.
Constitution Day was the brainchild of Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia who always carried a copy of the Constitution with him and was emphatic about making Constitution Day events a requirement for organizations that receive federal funds. Individuals, families, school groups and civic organizations are invited to visit the free exhibit that runs until September 24th. Hours are Monday- Saturday: 10am-4pm; Sunday: 12-4pm. The Visitor Center is located at 120 S. 3rd Street